Seven Candles for Kwanzaa provides a great introduction to Kwanzaa. Short paragraphs are accompanied by illustrations that support the text. Unfamiliar words are followed by the pronunciation in parenthesis. The reader learns about the origin of Kwanzaa, what people eat and drink during the days of celebration, what they wear, and some of the different traditions that go along with it. Each day of Kwanzaa is accompanied by a main principle from unity to determination. Examples of what that quality looks like in everyday life are also included to help the reader understand and relate to it.
The Story of Kwanzaa by Donna Washington emphasizes the origin of Kwanzaa and it’s role in honoring the rich history of African Americans living in the United States today. It recognizes the many hardships faced and as groups of Africans were taken away from their families and homes and brought to America by force in our country’s early history. Kwanzaa was created to celebrate family and new traditions that have evolved over the years.
The Story of Kwanzaa has a more typical structure of a non-fiction book, with headings that make the text easy to navigate.
Either or both of these informational books about Kwanzaa are great for introducing the holiday. Before reading them, you can ask children what they already know about Kwanzaa, as well as what they want to know and begin to create a K-W-L chart (Know, Want to know, Learned). Then after reading you can update the chart, to reflect newly acquired information as well as new wonderings.